Oak Bluffs man pleads guilty in chainsaw case

William Sanfilippo, right, and defense attorney Ryan Searle, left, in Edgartown District Court Friday. -Rich Saltzberg

Updated Oct. 29

William Sanfilippo, 58, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon (chainsaw) in Edgartown District Court on Friday. Judge Benjamin Barnes sentenced Sanfilippo to 32 days in jail, time he’d already served, and dismissed a charge of disturbing the peace. 

As The Times previously reported, Sanfilippo brandished a chainsaw in an encounter with Oak Bluffs Police, placing officers in fear. Earlier in October, an attempt at a plea agreement foundered after Sanfilippo gave an unsatisfactory answer to the court as to whether the chainsaw was running. On Friday he told Judge Barnes it was running. Prior to the plea acceptance, Sanfilippo’s attorney, Ryan Searle, requested a “CWOF,” a continuation without a finding. Searle said her client was enduring a number of health and financial problems, and a conviction would have “severe collateral consequences,” including potential housing problems. 

Judge Barnes appeared skeptical, and noted Sanfilippo already had a guilty finding for assault and battery on a police officer “out of Hingham.”

Searle said she couldn’t speak to that.

She did say her client made his living presently doing odd jobs and handyman work, and used to be a janitor in the school system. 

Following the plea, Judge Barnes authorized court officers to release Sanfilippo, who was in the dock in restraints.

Updated to correct a legal term used in court.